What is taking Goodell so long with Smith decision?

What is taking Goodell so long with Smith decision?
August 23, 2014, 9:15 am
Share This Post

Roger Goodell has suspended 25 NFL players for a total of 107 games so far in 2014. (AP)

Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers coverage from Santa Clara, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 8:30, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

It has been more than two weeks since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had a face-to-face meeting with 49ers star outside linebacker Aldon Smith.

Now, with the regular season just two weeks away, there is still no word on any discipline from the league office.

“I have not gotten any indication,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said on Friday.

[MAIOCCO: Emerging rush LB to fill in for Aldon Smith]

Smith’s potential punishment is a complex issue, and that could be a reason Goodell is taking his time. (Either that or the NFL did not want the topic to dominate the 49ers’ nationally televised game Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.)

Here is what the commissioner is weighing when considering the proper action to take with Smith:

--Two DUI arrests since entering the NFL. The DUI charge from an arrest in Miami after Smith's rookie season was reduced to reckless driving after completing an alcohol education and prevention program. He was sentenced to three years of court probation and 11 days on a work crew after pleading “no contest” to DUI stemming from his September arrest in San Jose.

--Three felony weapons charges, which a judge reduced to misdemeanors after Smith pleaded “no contest” to the charges. Smith purchased the assault rifles in Arizona. Most types of assault weapons cannot be legally bought in Arizona by California residents or possessed in California at all, according to the District Attorney’s office.

--An alleged false report of a bomb threat, stemming from an April incident at Los Angeles International Airport. No charges were filed, but Smith missed a day of practice early in training camp to attend an office hearing on the matter that the Los Angeles City Attorney scheduled to admonish him. Under the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, a player does not need to be found guilty of a crime to face discipline from the NFL.

[RELATED: Kaepernick: Aldon Smith is 'freak of nature']

And, finally . . .

--Goodell is on the record as stating Smith’s decision to enter rehab would “certainly” factor into the league’s ultimate decision on discipline.

But what does that mean? Smith missed six weeks total and five games last season with his decision to seek treatment for substance abuse. Does one week in rehab count as time served for what would be one game of an NFL suspension? Or is there another formula that will be used to weigh the amount of playing time lost while getting professional help.

There is no known precedent for a player taking a leave of absence during the regular season to seek treatment. That’s why Goodell’s ruling –- and his explanation -– in this matter must be carefully thought out.